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Jon Cooke: Property industry has evolved “ten years in a few months during Covid”

Industry CEO says Covid has driven huge changes to the way estate agents work that can't be turned back, and he's not alone in that view.

Nigel Lewis

home working property industry

Jon Cooke, CEO of the Guild and Fine & Country parent company Epropservices says Covid has forced the property industry to evolve “ten years within a few months”.

This has hastened a natural progression from high street surveying firms which offered estate agency ‘on the side’ during the 1950s onwards past the brand-led corporate models typified by Countrywide into the noughties.

Jon Cooke property industryNow, Cooke (leff) contends, the pandemic has created an opportunity for the move flexible ‘third way’ for the property industry to take hold as the pandemic restrictions persuade “more agents to re-evaluate the way they work”.

“Individuals will possibly work remotely and will be less reliant on a high street office, however, they will work with an umbrella organisation that will provide them with leads, marketing, technology and the ever increasingly important compliance,” he says.

“Before lockdown there was already a growing trend in the industry of agents moving away from the high street estate agency model and moving towards more flexible options that offered them the ability to work from anywhere, greater earning potential and the support of a network.”

Agents may be forgiven for assuming Cooke has a vested interest in this property industry approach given ePropservices owns Fine & Country, which uses self-employed agents rather than employees. But he is not alone.

property industryAt the same time Cooke was speaking, London estate agency Douglas & Gordon’s CEO James Evans (left) revealed that it is developing a software system that will enable its staff “work seamlessly and completely mobile [and] negate the need for an office,” he told Computer Weekly magazine.

Evans said he believes the world of branches is going to change and “a huge proportion of what people can do can be completed remotely.”

Read more about property industry ‘flexible working’ initiatives.

September 30, 2020

One comment

  1. The fourth industrial revolution is allowing all industries to find efficiencies, break from the shackles of legacy models and empower the workforce. The only positive from the pandemic is that the antiquated legacy model is now being shown to be just that, and smart innovation coupled with deep property knowledge is opening everyone’s eyes to the future of real estate in all of its verticals. Technology within property is not a fad, its digital tendrils are here for good – and will remove swathes of boring repetitive back and front office procedures.
    WFH has shown even the most ardent critic, that agency is not a high street business, but a high level of service business, where property professionals can digitally plug into the real estate nexus where ever they are, and the end client is happy to transact via the prism of their mobile.

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